Sunday, 10 August 2008

A People's Constitution for Aotearoa?

Could the Treaty of Waitangi be incorporated into a re-founded people's constitution of Aotearoa?

by Vaughan Gunson from UNITY journal July 2008 Last year the United Nations produced a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People which had been 24 years in the drafting. It was finally presented to the UN General Assembly to be ratified. The vote: 143 for and only 4 against. The countries that opposed this reasonable, but far from radical, declaration were the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Maori in this country were outraged. Dr Pita Sharples, Maori Party co-leader, said it was “shameful to the extreme, that New Zealand voted against the outlawing of discrimination against Indigenous People; voted against justice, dignity and fundamental freedoms for all.” The reason Helen Clark’s Labour government gave for voting against the declaration was that the definitions of self-determination extended to the exclusive control of territorial resources. This, they said, threatened the sovereignty of the nation state. Echoing claims made by former National Party leader Don Brash in his infamous “race speech” of 2004, the government claimed that the UN declaration was “discriminatory” and could see “separatist minorities breaking up countries”.


No comments: